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Pierre Hermé Dried Fruit and Nut Mendiants

January 12, 2010

This week I am wrapping up a very big and important chapter of my life, and I needed to make something special to show my appreciation to the people who’ve been a part of this chapter, so I decided to make them a batch of Pierre Hermé‘s Dried Fruit and Nut Mendiants.

Pierre says to use premium quality chocolate, preferably Valrhona Caraïbe (bittersweet), Jivara (milk chocolate) or Ivoire (white chocolate). My husband and I found out recently that if we wanted to indulge in something sweet, dark chocolate was the way to go. It typically has a lower sugar content than milk chocolate, it does not contain any milk, and is rich in antioxidants. So for the mendiants, I used Valrhona Satilia 62% dark chocolate and Araguani 72% dark chocolate.

The big effort required in making the mendiants is in the process of tempering the chocolate. This is the process of “melting, cooling and reheating” the chocolate till it is “rendered firm, shiny and snappable, meaning it breaks crisply and cleanly.” Now when I finished making the chocolates and put them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes as per instructions, they emerged deliciously melt-in-your-mouth-like, but a little too much so. They started melting the second you touched them with your hand! It was almost like they were sweating. And they were certainly not snappable… BUT, after storing them in the refrigerator overnight, then letting them warm up slightly at room temperature, they became just perfect – firm, shiny, and snappable =)

I’m not sure if this means I didn’t quite get the tempering process right, but eh… I’ll perfect it some day. In any case, the mendiants were delish and had a very refined taste, so I’m satisfied! (My husband, meanwhile, is confused as to why he can’t have the whole box of chocolates to himself. =)

Pierre describes the tempering process as “finicky but not difficult,” requiring “patience and precision but neither skill nor finesse.” I can attest to the fact that it certainly requires an enormous amount of patience!

Dried Fruit and Nut Mendiants

Ingredients (makes about 50 candies):

450g chocolate, dark, milk or white, or some of each, tempered (see below)
1 cup (about 140g) dried fruits and nuts (e.g. raisins, dried apricot slices, diced dried figs, julienned almonds, halved cashews, pistachio pieces etc. I used almonds, apricots and cranberries.)

Directions for making the mendiants:

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Make chocolate rounds by spooning out about 1.5 teaspoons (about half a tablespoon) of chocolate for each round: Hold the spoon about 3 inches above the parchment and allow the chocolate to drip off the tip of the spoon onto the paper. There’s no need to wiggle the spoon around, The chocolate will pour off the spoon and spread into a perfect round.

3. Dot each mendiant with an equal amount of fruits and nuts, then slide the baking sheets into the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to set, about 15 minutes.*My recommendation is to keep them in the refrigerator overnight, then let them warm up a little at room temperature before giving them to your recipients.

(For storage, Pierre says that the mendiants will keep at cool room temperature for 3 days when layered between sheets of parchment paper and packed in an airtight tin. As mentioned though, I strongly advise storing the tin in the refrigerator if you live in Singapore, given our climate.)

Directions for tempering the chocolate:
(I’ve condensed this since the original instructions take up two whole A4 pages!)

1. Have ready a cooking thermometer that goes down to room temperature. (Fortunately I had a crummy old one that I snitched from my parents’ place. My other candy thermometer only measures temperatures above 90 degC.)

2. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over – not touching – simmering water, till it reaches 45 to 49 degC.

3. Remove the chocolate from the heat. Allow chocolate to cool, stirring occasionally, till it reaches between 27 and 28 degC. (My thermometer only goes down to 30 degC so I’m sure this is where I was a little off-the-mark.)

4. Reheat the chocolate and restabilize the cocoa butter crystals. Again do this by placing chocolate over – not touching – simmering water. Dark chocolate should be heated to between 30 and 32 degC, and milk and white chocolate to between 29 and 31 degC. (If temperature goes above the highest temperature in the range, you have to start from the beginning – remelting the chocolate till it reaches 49 degC, cooling it, then re-heating it.) (Yes I know – SO MUCH WORK!)

5. Chocolate is now in temper (I like that term!) and ready to use. (To test that you got it right, Pierre says to dip a knife in the chocolate and put knife in the refrigerator for a few seconds – it should emerge coated with a shiny, nonstreaked later of chocolate. Umm… I didn’t do the test… =) Work quickly to make the mendiants. If you need to keep the chocolate warm and in temper, place it on a heating pad that is wrapped in a towel.

*For those of you who want to try the Pierre Hermé Chocolate & Raspberry Tart recipe, I have found a url link to the recipe and tagged it on at the end of the Choc & Raspberry Tart post. Please click here. (I’ve also added that post to my Best of 2009 list.)

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. trissalicious permalink
    January 12, 2010 7:04 pm

    I’ve never learned to temper chocolate – I must try it one day. This looks amazing – Pierre Herme is a genius – not only with macarons but chocolates as well!

  2. Cons permalink
    January 12, 2010 10:15 pm

    they are FANTASTIC! love it.

  3. Lazy Susan permalink
    January 13, 2010 12:28 am

    they were great! better than those bought from gourmet stores!

  4. January 13, 2010 8:24 am

    I must add to the rave reviews too. Two thumbs up! I was hoping you’d offer me another 😉

  5. January 13, 2010 9:46 am

    They look DIVINE! Clare, please do give pineapple tarts a try. If you can do this (with amazing results), you can do anything! You give yourself too little credit 😉 I really have to make something from that Pierre Herme book … instead of just salivating over all those exquisite photos everytime! 😉

  6. January 13, 2010 11:39 am

    I love Pierre Herme recipes. They are the best! These mendiants look absolutely gorgeous 🙂

  7. mrsmultitasker permalink*
    January 13, 2010 11:30 pm

    Trissa, Ellie: Thanks ladies =)
    Cons, Lazy Susan and Apprentice Housewife: Thank you dear ones. I’m really gonna miss you…
    Ju: Thanks for always being so encouraging =) For the moment I’m happier drooling over your pics than making them myself! haha. But maybe I’ll change my mind next week…

  8. Chocolate girl permalink
    January 15, 2010 1:07 am

    They look awesomelly delicious!

    New Year, New Starts, New Chocolates

    All the very best wishes

    There is nothing better than following your heart

    ps: i can understand how your husband feels about not being able to have the whole box of chocolates to himself…. i would have taken the box and hidden it away muhahahahaha

  9. January 15, 2010 6:39 am

    WOWOWOW, these look so impressive!! Looks like you bought them from a shop! Lovely photos too!

    P.S. Responded to your comment about making the icecream without an icecream maker on my blog. Basically you can I think – you put the mixture in the freezer for a few hours, then pull it out to stir/beat for a few minutes, then return it to the freezer for a few hours, then stir/beat. Do this about 3 times until the ice cream is creamy. It’s quite troublesome this way – much better to get an icecream maker that can do it in 25 minutes!

  10. mrsmultitasker permalink*
    January 24, 2010 4:09 pm

    Chocolate girl: Thanks dear. Hope the new year has started out well for you
    Rilsta: Thanks so much =) One more kitchen appliance on the wish list!

  11. mrmultitasker permalink
    January 31, 2010 4:29 pm

    These were divinely yummy. I loved them! Only problem was that they didn’t last too long cos we (or was it just me?) kept raiding the fridge. Haha.

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